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Existence - Arguments about Him- that square circle
Posted: 18 August 2009 01:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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The Kalam is the temporal version of the cosmological family of arguments that states that there must be a starting point, because there can be no actual infinity. Muslim philosophers composed it, and Craig is trying to rehabilitate it. Now the premiss of that start is a non sequitur, because we find sub-atomic events without causes, and thus no starting point. 
      Flew made this argument implicitly as he didn’t mention its name decades ago before his dementia ; dishonest people are trying to use him as an ex-atheist now supporting their position when he is only a deist. See what my friend Richard Carrier states about hm @ FRDB’s library.
      Aquinas’s argument is that the First Cause is the ultimate explanation. Leibniz’s sufficient reason is that only He can be that explanation. The ignostic-Ockham dismisses both as nebulous- no there there.They cannot then override the presumption of empiricism, naturalism, rationalism and skepticism. There are not facts for them. Natural causes are sufficient. Reason overrides faith for them. And thus they lack any provisional basis.
      Leibniz’s big blunder rests on the proposition that nothing would be more reasonable to exist [!] than Existence were there not God. Nothing is nebulous here. The quanta field are eternal. One might state that it would take God to create that nothing!
      Stenger posits nothing as those fields, not nothingness.
      Is Santa Claus the sufficient reason and ultimate explanation for giving gifts to children at Christmas? Are gremlins and demons such reasons and explanations?
      Craig and Richard Swinburne maintain that there must be that personal explanation. They cannot fathom that that is just their preference! More against that anon.
        As George S.Smith notes, one conflates a natural process with a teleological one when she states that living things are comparable to watches. This is the nonsense behind that oxymoron creationist evolution noted @ that other thread .
      The Ground of Being’s incoherency next time.

[ Edited: 18 August 2009 01:28 PM by Carneades [ lord griggs1947] ]
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Posted: 18 August 2009 01:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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naturalist griggsy - 18 August 2009 01:21 PM

The Kalam is the temporal version of the cosmological family of arguments that states that there must be a starting point, because there can be no actual infinity. Muslim philosophers composed it, and Craig is trying to rehabilitate it. Now the premiss of that start is a non sequitur, because we find sub-atomic events without causes, and thus no starting point. 
      Flew made this argument implicitly as he didn’t mention its name decades ago before his dementia ; dishonest people are trying to use him as an ex-atheist now supporting their position when he is only a deist. See what my friend Richard Carrier states about hm @ FRDB’s library.
      Aquinas’s argument is that the First Cause is the ultimate explanation. Leibniz’s sufficient reason is that only He can be that explanation. The ignostic-Ockham dismisses both as nebulous- no there there.They cannot then override the presumption of empiricism, naturalism, rationalism and skepticism. There are not facts for them. Natural causes are sufficient. Reason overrides faith for them. And thus they lack any provisional basis.
      Leibniz’s big blunder rests on the proposition that nothing would be more reasonable to exist [!] than Existence were there not God. Nothing is nebulous here. The quanta field are eternal. One might state that it would take God to create that nothing!
      Stenger posits nothing as those fields, not nothingness.
      Is Santa Claus the sufficient reason and ultimate explanation for giving gifts to children at Christmas? Are gremlins and demons such reasons and explanations?
      Craig and Richard Swinburne maintain that there must be that personal explanation. They cannot fathom that that is just their preference! More against that anon.
        As George S.Smith notes, one conflates a natural process with a teleological one when she states that living things are comparable to watches. This is the nonsense behind that oxymoron creationist evolution noted @ that other thread .
      The Ground of Being’s incoherency next time.

Could you cite the sub-atomic events that arise without cause?

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Posted: 18 August 2009 02:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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MitchLeBlanc - 18 August 2009 01:54 PM

Could you cite the sub-atomic events that arise without cause?

Don’t want to butt in to this argument, but I think I can answer that question. Quantum mechanical events are typically stochastic in nature; e.g., the decay of an atom is a stochastic process. If one wants to ask what caused this atom of radium to decay at time T, there is no answer except in terms of its half-life and the probabilities involved.

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Posted: 18 August 2009 02:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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dougsmith - 18 August 2009 02:04 PM
MitchLeBlanc - 18 August 2009 01:54 PM

Could you cite the sub-atomic events that arise without cause?

Don’t want to butt in to this argument, but I think I can answer that question. Quantum mechanical events are typically stochastic in nature; e.g., the decay of an atom is a stochastic process. If one wants to ask what caused this atom of radium to decay at time T, there is no answer except in terms of its half-life and the probabilities involved.

With specific regard to its coming into being, is that causeless? The first premise of the Kalam is specific with regarding to that which “begins” to exist.

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Posted: 18 August 2009 02:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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naturalist griggsy - 18 August 2009 01:21 PM

The Kalam is the temporal version of the cosmological family of arguments that states that there must be a starting point, because there can be no actual infinity. Muslim philosophers composed it, and Craig is trying to rehabilitate it. Now the premiss of that start is a non sequitur, because we find sub-atomic events without causes, and thus no starting point. 

Thanks for the explanation, Griggsy, but I have to make some further logical corrections here. First, the phrase “non sequitur” means “it does not follow,” and, when used as a noun, designates a logically invalid inference. A premise is a proposition from which but not to which an inference is made. So a premise, by definition, cannot be a non sequitur. I think what you mean is that the conclusion of the argument in question is a non sequitur.

However, that does not seem to me to be the case. The argument that you present runs thus:

(1) There can be no actual infinity (premise).
(2) Therefore, there must be a starting point of the universe in time (conclusion).

While this is indeed not logically valid as it stands, it seems to me that that is only because a necessary premise is left unstated, namely:

(1a) If the universe has no starting point in time, then there is an actual infinity (premise).

With this premise added, the conclusion (2) is no longer a non sequitur. And (1a) seems to me an unobjectionable premise. So if you are going to attack the argument, then surely you need to attack the premise (1). Your counter-argument, however, consists in citing the supposed occurrence of sub-atomic events that have no cause. Granted that there are such events, this fact does not directly conflict with the argument under consideration, as far as I can tell, because the argument, as you have stated it, does not pertain to the connection of events with their causes, but merely to duration in time.

naturalist griggsy - 18 August 2009 01:21 PM

Flew made this argument implicitly as he didn’t mention its name decades ago before his dementia ; dishonest people are trying to use him as an ex-atheist now supporting their position when he is only a deist. See what my friend Richard Carrier states about hm @ FRDB’s library.

I read the story about Flew that appeared in the New York Times Magazine a while ago.

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Posted: 18 August 2009 02:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Well, to butt in again, (1) is false.

I argue by example: the systems of cardinal and real numbers are actual infinities. Therefore (1) is false.

If the counter is that “actual infinity” means something spatiotemporal, my question is why what is spatiotemporal cannot simply work by analogy with the number line?

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Posted: 18 August 2009 03:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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dougsmith - 18 August 2009 02:29 PM

Well, to butt in again, (1) is false.

I argue by example: the systems of cardinal and real numbers are actual infinities. Therefore (1) is false.

If the counter is that “actual infinity” means something spatiotemporal, my question is why what is spatiotemporal cannot simply work by analogy with the number line?

Just for the reference of anyone starting to read the thread at this point: (1) is “There can be no actual infinity.”

Well, my question was (to Griggsy) why Griggsy thinks that the business about uncaused subatomic events undercuts the argument, but to take your comment, I would say, first, that indeed the whole point of the word “actual” must be to distinguish what exists in space and time from what we merely conceive, as in mathematics. Second, your counterargument—that because we can conceive of infinities in mathematics, it must be possible for them to exist in space and time—seems to me uncompelling. On what ground should I conclude, from the fact that I can conceive of something in mathematics, that such a thing is capable of existing spatio-temporally? We conceive, e.g., of infinitely long straight lines in mathematics, but, if I understand modern cosmology correctly, it turns out that there can be no such lines in nature, because three-dimensional space is full of higher-dimensional curves and is finite in extent.

I think that the only objection that needs to be made to (1) is that we cannot possibly know it to be true, or even have strong reason to believe it true. We do know (don’t we?) that our universe is finite in space and time, but now cosmology entertains the idea of infinitely many universes, in succession or multiplying out from one another, and we seem to have no way to determine whether this idea is true or false.

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Posted: 18 August 2009 03:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Just did something I should have done a while back and did some Googling for “kalam.” Here is what I found in the Wikipedia article “Kalām Cosmological Argument”—with some markers inserted for reference in brackets and bold type:

The Kalām cosmological argument is a contemporary version of the cosmological argument taking its form from Kalām, a form of dialectical argument used in Islamic philosophy. It attempts to prove the existence of God by appealing to the principle of universal cause. Similar arguments are found in the theologies of Judaism (for example, in the work of Maimonides) and Christianity (for example in Thomas Aquinas), where it is known as the “uncaused cause” or “first cause” argument. . . .

Christian philosopher and apologist William Lane Craig has recently revived the argument and formulates it as follows [A]:

[A1] Premise 1: Everything that begins to exist has a cause.

[A2] Premise 2: The universe began to exist.

[A3] Conclusion 1: Therefore, the universe must have a cause.

Craig asserts that the first premise is “relatively uncontroversial”. He defines “begins to exist” as “comes into being,” and argues that we know from metaphysical intuition that things don’t just pop into being uncaused. According to Craig, this establishes premise 1.

The second premise is usually supported by two arguments:

The first argument [B] is philosophical in nature.

[B1]  1. An actual infinite cannot exist.
[B2]  2. A beginningless series of events is an actual infinite.
[B3]  3. Therefore, the universe cannot have existed infinitely in the past, as that would be a beginningless series of events.

. . . The second argument is scientific in nature [C].

  1. Evidence from the expanding galaxies in the universe
  2. Evidence from the laws of thermodynamics

In summary, the Kalam Cosmological Argument rests on the premise that the universe is not infinite in the past, but had a finite beginning which necessitates a cause for its existence. In keeping with the tradition of the kalam school, Craig goes so far as to say that this cause must be personal, but concedes that the argument goes no further in defining the attributes of the first cause.

I think now I understand why Griggsy said that a “premise” was a “non sequitur”: he meant that A2, which is a premise in argument A and a conclusion in argument B, is a non sequitur in relation to argument B. However, the observation about uncaused subatomic events is still irrelevant to this argument.

It is, however, relevant to A1. It seems to me that it is silly to put so much work into establishing A2 when A1 is completely unsupported. The idea that nothing can begin to exist without a cause has a strong intuitive appeal, but when it comes to limiting cases like that of the beginning of the entire universe, we surely don’t know enough to conclude that that, too, has to have a cause. Besides that, aren’t there all sorts of quite banal examples of things that begin to exist without a cause, as in random and statistical phenomena? Without some constraint on what counts as a thing that begins to exist, the principle, A1, is untenable; and with such constraints, the principle is not likely to apply to the beginning of the universe, but only to things within the universe.

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Posted: 18 August 2009 03:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Kritikos - 18 August 2009 03:10 PM

Second, your counterargument—that because we can conceive of infinities in mathematics, it must be possible for them to exist in space and time—seems to me uncompelling. On what ground should I conclude, from the fact that I can conceive of something in mathematics, that such a thing is capable of existing spatio-temporally? We conceive, e.g., of infinitely long straight lines in mathematics, but, if I understand modern cosmology correctly, it turns out that there can be no such lines in nature, because three-dimensional space is full of higher-dimensional curves and is finite in extent.

Well, modern cosmology is mathematical at its core, and requires infinities to work, e.g., in the calculus of limits. Spacetime as well is theoretically as infinitely divisible as is the real number line. And although spacetime may be warped, that doesn’t imply that there are no straight lines in nature, only that two parallel lines cannot be assumed to remain parallel because spacetime is non-Euclidean. (We are not guaranteed by mathematics that spacetime has a particular topology).

That said, I agree with you that I should probably not claim (1) to be false, rather I should claim that (1) is not clearly true, again, by analogy with the real number line.

FWIW, the first premise of a cosmological argument of this sort is usually motivated by the claim that an actual infinity is somehow a contradiction in terms, or something that we should be able to tell immediately is impossible. But that is untrue, again by analogy. You’re right to point out that this does not imply that spacetime is infinitely large in any particular direction, however it does establish that we cannot know, simply by inspecting the relevant concepts, that it is not infinitely large.

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Posted: 19 October 2009 10:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Theists maintain that the arguments from angst and happiness would bring a person to God, Augustine puts it that we are restless unless in His bosom. Dr.Paul Tillich and many preachers allege that also. Yet there is no evidence for that. My angst stemmed from depression and schizotypy, for which my therapy alleviates rather than from a belief in the Ground or Being or Sky Pappy.A variant of this is the silly there are no atheists in fox holes. I’d have been one for sure! This presumes that atheists reflect an emotional distaste for Him but actually know he exists in their hears and will resort to him in emergencies. Why wouldn’t theists,being revulsed by all the blood shed and seeing no aid, give up belief. Again, no evidence.
All this boomerangs on theists. They reveal that at bottom at it is they who suffer from angst so much that they need this replaceable placebo.
  A recent survey shows that firm in beliefs and non-belief in him, theists and atheists both respectively present happiness. Again, no evidence for the theistic allegation.
Then that is always the case!
These are arguments that skeptic christian should add to his list of bad arguments against atheism[ Google skeptic christian].
Godists, what do you maintain about all this?
Fellow rationalists, we have the fraud Dr. Dr. Sigmund Freud’s universal neurotic argument against theism. Freud knew theism was bankrupt and thence maintained that then theists had this ” neurosis” to believe. So, he makes no genetic fallacy here. They seem with these arguments to affirm that themselves.
  Then Dr. Feurbach notes theistic projection of mind onto Him. What about that>
I compose the argument from pareidolia that they see divine mind and designs when there is telenionomy [ no-predetermined outcomes- please, see the thread the two category] and patterns instead as people see Mary and Yeshua on surfaces. The theistic counterpart is the one from beauty where they state that whence all this beauty we see in the Universe. Surely, there must be a divine mind to account for it! Nay, as a reading of the works of my friend Dr. Clinton Richard Dawkins   would reveal.
  What might one present to counterpoint the argument form pareidolia?
[  Any friend is an on-line one.]
  Why unbelief or belief or maybe or no one can say?
  Good will and blessings to all!
  I’m sorry but I thought I posted this @ arguments about Him. I’d like to put it there, and any response should be put there.

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Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism.He might be wrong!His cognitive defects might impact his posting. Logic is the bane of theists.‘Religion is mythinformation.“Reason saves, not that fanatic Galilean!
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Posted: 21 October 2009 08:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Kritikos, that was decades before his dementia.  Contradictions make for incoherence.
  Anyway, folks, what do you argue for His existence. And how might one overcome theistic begged questions. What are then rebuttals to my questions my four posts ago and after?
  The Kalam is that it is impossible to have eternal contingent causes, but that presupposes a starting point. See the first post.
  Choc., the world is awaiting your response! Thanks.
As this site is associated with the Center, one should exhume on matters.
  My cognitive defects are causing me to have to really,  really proof-read!
  I now dedicate this thread to Doug, giving him co-authorship. And thanks Kritkos, our fine critic.

[ Edited: 21 October 2009 09:34 AM by Carneades [ lord griggs1947] ]
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Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism.He might be wrong!His cognitive defects might impact his posting. Logic is the bane of theists.‘Religion is mythinformation.“Reason saves, not that fanatic Galilean!
  ’ Life is its own validation and reward and ultimate purpose.”

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Posted: 21 December 2009 12:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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In ” A Modern Philosophy of Religion,” Samuel M Thompson uses the Kalam without its name ,stating that it stems from the time of Zeno. I think that like Parmenides’s arguments ,it fails. He states that yes, in arithmetic there is infinity, but one recognizes that there s the distinction betwixt the the discrete and the continuous.“But he parts we obtain by such analysis are not parts of which the continuum is constructed, they exist when considered by themselves only as conceptual constructs. For the limits which differentiates a part from the rest of the continuum… are completely determined; they do not exist apart from each other in the thing itself.” And he claims for some unknown reason that since the past is no longer and the future hasn’t arrive, then “[h]ow could a partially non-existent whole confer existence upon the the contingent parts of the whole?”
    . . .
  ” Any sum of actual entities,...., must be a finite number. To designate a a series or sum as infinite is to deny that it is a series or sum of real existences.’
  I am now wondering that maybe Hume- Russell- Edwards- Lamberth were right after all in finding that theists use the fallacy of composition in cosmological arguments as Existence, unlike a car, is not separate from its constituents and so not like the car that has parts made by another manufacturer ; the old notion was that Existence was like a team which has no mother, but each member had one. Anyway, nothing can be a cause of Existence and it can come from no outside materials as it is all there is. One begs the question in assuming otherwise.Now Qunten Smith has the theory of each part of the Metaverse causing each other.
  How could there ever be nothing?  As Peter A. Angeles notes, since the time of the pre-Socraitcs we recognize that ” nothing” has no   existence.
  I, ignostic, find that it is meaningless to speak of disembodied God. Some atheists were wrong in seeing Him as having a body detectible in principle.
  We only know of minds that depend on brains , so that when a part of the brain malfunctions, so does the mind. Since theists use the it must be that He is disembodied, then He has no brain and so no mind. And so we have no souls.
  Some argue that the Metaverse is his body, but then where are the ganglia and the axons and the neurons,eh? This is just more it must be.
  Theists use the argument from God to establish our rights in maintaining that as he grants them the are inalienable rather than from the state and so revocable. No, they stem form our level of consciousness, as the UN, in effect, acknowledges. I support the Great Ape Project to grant more protections to the other great apes [We are the third chimpanzee with the chimps and the bonobos as the other two, some declare.]. This would be in line with Morgan’s Canon. New Zealand and Spain are in the forefront in protecting the other great apes.
kritkos and Doug, so how errs Thompson?

[ Edited: 21 December 2009 12:14 AM by Carneades [ lord griggs1947] ]
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Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism.He might be wrong!His cognitive defects might impact his posting. Logic is the bane of theists.‘Religion is mythinformation.“Reason saves, not that fanatic Galilean!
  ’ Life is its own validation and reward and ultimate purpose.”

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Posted: 21 December 2009 04:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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retrospy - 21 January 2008 01:56 PM

Didn’t Descartes take care of this one in the 1600’s with “Cogito, ergo sum” (“I think therefore I am”)?

“But I have convinced myself that there is absolutely nothing in the world, no sky, no earth, no minds, no bodies. Does it now follow that I too do not exist? No: if I convinced myself of something (or thought anything at all) then I certainly existed. But there is a deceiver of supreme power and cunning who is deliberately and constantly deceiving me. In that case I too undoubtedly exist, if he is deceiving me; and let him deceive me as much as he can, he will never bring it about that I am nothing so long as I think that I am something. So, after considering everything very thoroughly, I must finally conclude that the proposition, I am, I exist, is necessarily true whenever it is put forward by me or conceived in my mind.”  ~ Rene Descartes

Practically existence is true.  Philosophically I choose to remain agnostic.

I find his method of introspection dubious. A supreme power could undoubtedly fool one into believing that one exists. Things are happening, but there is no way to distinguish a doer, apart from the objects happening in consciousness. The subject remains forever invisible and becomes known only after the individual action have been made - as a result of interpretation. By no way does reason prove the existence of personal identity.

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Posted: 15 June 2010 10:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Could someone answer Thompson’s point?
The Kalam begs the question of that startg point as Aquinas and Kyle Williams note. It is one day at a time forever. To maintain that just because one cannot complete a series by successive addition to reach infinity is nonsensical, because that is the essence of infiinity! And Craig uses finite arithmetic to find the transfiinite aburd.
More anon on the Kalam.
W.L.C. and Alvin Plantinga issue farragoes of sophisticatted solecistic sophistry for their woo!
Faith doth that to people!
Here are some fine blogs:
Carneades.Aimoo.com
Ignosticmorgan.WordPress.com
Thales Ignostic Morgan.Blogspot.com
Thales.Blogger.com
  Thales.Tumbler.com
Strato of Ga.Word.Pres.com
Skeptic Griggsy. WordPres.com
Carneades Strato Thaels. Ning.com

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[size=6][/“size][color=redLife is its own validation and reward and ultimate meaning>” Inquiring Lynn
      ” God is in a worse condition than the Scarecrow, who had a body to which a mind could enter whilst He has neither. He is that married bachelor. No wonder he is ineffable. ” Ignostic Morgan
” Religion is mythinformation.” An Englishlman.
  ” Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism.” Griggsy[/color]

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Posted: 01 August 2010 06:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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What my friend Mitch do you maintain to answer Thompson in the post I did above?
Carneades notes that if God is all-virtuous, then that contradicts Him in so far as courage and such in that as being omnipotent, He fears nothing! This is one of the ignostic incompatibility arguments.
  Then again, if we discard Him having virtue or-vice, then He is no sort of a person, and I add even analogically, that we would recognize.
  Supernaturalists do so amuse me on how they put out farragoes of silly yet sophisticated solecisms of sophistry! They get out of one hole, only to land nto another!
We need to get supernaturalists to define Him factually rather than take Him factually meaningfu when we find Him only smenatically meaningful. We need to make supernaturalists squirm!

[ Edited: 19 August 2010 06:54 PM by Carneades Thales Strato of Ga. [griggsy ] ]
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[size=6][/“size][color=redLife is its own validation and reward and ultimate meaning>” Inquiring Lynn
      ” God is in a worse condition than the Scarecrow, who had a body to which a mind could enter whilst He has neither. He is that married bachelor. No wonder he is ineffable. ” Ignostic Morgan
” Religion is mythinformation.” An Englishlman.
  ” Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism.” Griggsy[/color]

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